Summary: Delayed obedience can be a costly mistake.
Today we are going to begin a 2 part series entitled "Bad Timing Can Cost You." To begin let’s look at some examples of bad timing. (Play Ameritrade bad timing commercial).
The first truth you and I need to grasp today is the fact that God’s directions are reliable. Look at the first part of our passage today.
Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel; you shall send a man from each of their father’s tribes, every one a leader among them.
Numbers 13:2 (NASB)
We also need to realize that God’s provisions are bountiful:
When they came to what is now known as the valley of Eshcol, they cut down a cluster of grapes so large that it took two of them to carry it on a pole between them! They also took samples of the pomegranates and figs.
…We went into the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is it’s fruit.
Numbers 13:27 (NASB)
One of the main culprits in derailing our obedience to God’s will is our emotional responses:
These three emotions tend to be the controlling factors in most peoples lives. One of the seminars I do for my investment clients is entitled "Fear, Hope and Greed." The seminar describes how these things control people’s investment choices. Listen to the Israelites emotional response:
But the people who live there are strong. Their cities are walled and very large. We even saw some Anakites there.
The Amalekites live in the southern area; the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the mountains; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan River.
Numbers 13:28-29 (NCV)
Now there were a few who were going against the emotional flow. Listen:
And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey, and he will give it to us!
Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!
Numbers 14:8-9 (NLT)
When emotions are in control we risk making costly conclusions:
So they spread discouraging reports about the land among the Israelites; “The land we explored will swallow up any who go to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. We felt like grasshoppers next to them, and that’s what we looked like to them!”
Numbers 13:32-33 (NLT)
People have not changed much, as always, negativity breeds negativity:
That night all the people in the camp began crying loudly.
All the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron, and all the people said to them, “We wish we had died in Egypt or in this desert. Why is the Lord bringing us to this land to be killed with swords? Our wives and children will be taken away. We would be better off going back to Egypt.”
They said to each other, “Let’s choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
Numbers 14:1-4 (NCV)
But all the congregation said to stone them with stones…
Numbers 14:10 (NASB)
The high cost of bad timing:
Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “How long will this wicked nation complain about me? I have heard everything the Israelites have been saying. Now tell them this: ‘As surely as I live, I will do to you the very things I have heard you say. I the Lord, have spoken! You will all die here in this wilderness! Because you complained against me, none of you who are twenty years old or older and were counted in the census will enter the land I swore to give you. The only exceptions will be Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.”
Numbers 14:26-30 (NLT)
So how can you have perfect timing. Here are some keys to perfect timing:
God is the master planner – Jeremiah 29:11
Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Perfect plans require perfect timing – Psalm 119:60
Psalm 119:60 (NLT)
I will hurry, without lingering, to obey your commands.
1 Samuel 15:22 (NLT)
But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: Your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams.”